What is social sin? Is there any standard definition of it? How can we abstain from social sin? And if we fail to abstain from so called social sin, what would be the consequences? (150 W/ 10 M)

Mentor’s Comment:

Such factual questions are very much the part of ethics paper and we should be able to comprehend the meaning of the terms. The better analysis will be when we go into the micro perspective of the term and look with 360 degree angle.

Here, in this question we need explain the social sin in general context as there is no standard definition mentioned anywhere. Try to make your own definition which is precise, meaningful, and covers all aspects of social sin.

Further, mention what all actions are considered as Social Sin in contemporary times. If possible bring examples.

Mention ethical ways to abstain from such sin like awareness about consequences and its effects on individual as well as society. Illustrate your points with examples. One can quote the like minded thinkers and their way of abstaining from social sin.

At last summarize entire points to form conclusion and mention your own view(s).

Model Answer:

The social sin applies to every action against justice in interpersonal relationship, committed either by the individual against the community or by the community against the individual.  There is no effective and standard definition of social sin till date which explicitly interprets the wider meaning of the term, however, as per its nature it can be defined as “those actions which are the results of thousands or even millions of different selfish choices by as many different people and thus is collective, as aspect of our society which doesn’t resemble the kingdom of God”.

A social sin usually involves other people. However in today’s changing scenario of the world have changed the dimensions of social sins which include:

  • Bioethical violations such as birth control
  • Morally dubious experiments such as stem cell research
  • Drug abuse
  • Polluting the environment
  • Contributing to widening divide between rich and poor
  • Excessive wealth
  • Creating poverty

For abstaining from the social sin, awareness about the sin and its consequences on oneself and society is must.  This will help an individual in choosing the right path in life.

The consequence of social sin can be felt at both the individual level as well as the societal level.  For example corruption is one of the biggest social sins in the present era.  Money that is meant to benefit the people is diverted to the pockets of corrupt government officials and their conspirators.  It can lead to death and damage of property when corrupt government officials allow corporations to destroy the environment that causes flooding, air pollution, and climate changes.

Similarly use of biotechnology for cloning or stem cell research have ethical implications as it contradicts the duty to prevent or alleviate suffering and the duty to respect the value of human life.

Hence people should abstain from involving in social sins.